MASc Thesis & Oral Examination

MASc Thesis

An MASc thesis must:

  • be no more than 70 pages,
  • give evidence of mastery of the topic, originality and creativity and
  • be written and defended in an acceptable manner.

It is desirable that the work reported in the thesis be of such a nature and caliber that it can be published. It should contain sufficient information so that others can replicate the experiments conducted.

With approval from the student’s supervisor, a student may submit a collection of publishable papers as their thesis.  This collection must have a coherent topic with an introduction, presenting the general theme of the research and a conclusion, summarizing and integrating the major findings.  The minimum requirement is one paper submitted to a good quality, peer-reviewed journal, where the student is the principal contributor.

Previously completed MASc theses are available as pdfs through T-Space.  Further information on copyright, and document formatting is available here.

Guidance on the appropriate use of generative artificial intelligence in graduate theses.

MASc Departmental Oral Examination

*Students must attend all Oral Examinations in person. Committee members may attend remotely if needed.
Student in person attendance is mandatory for access to a white or black board during a meeting/exam.

MASc students must successfully defend their thesis at an MASc Departmental Oral Examination.

The student and supervisor work together to form the committee, set the examination date, time, and location. Contact the Graduate Office to book an exam room. Please visit Room & Equipment Bookings for details.

The MASc Oral Examination Committee is comprised of:

  •  Supervisor(s); and
  •  2 additional Faculty Members, 1 of whom must be from this Department. The graduate office will appoint one of these two members to Chair the exam.

Students must submit the MASc Oral Examination Request by email to the Graduate Assistant at least 5 business days prior to the examination in order to formally request the examination, providing the following information:

  • Name of each Committee member
  • Date, Time and Location of exam (normally takes 2 hours)
  • Research Thesis Title

Distribution of Thesis

Copies of the thesis should be distributed by the student to the exam committee members at least two weeks in advance of the exam date. A PDF of the student’s academic record from ACORN must be included with the thesis. Committee members may refuse to participate in an exam if less time is given for appraisal of the thesis.

Conduct of MASc Oral Examination

Pre-Exam Review
  • The student will be asked to leave the room.
  • The Examination Chair will review the departmental policies related to the MASc program.
  • The committee will review the student’s course performance.
Oral Examination
  • The candidate and any graduate student observers will be asked to enter the room.
  • The student will make a 20 minute presentation on their research.
  • The exam committee members will question the student on their research. Student observers may also ask questions.
  • At the end of the question period, the candidate and observers will be asked to leave the room.

Post Exam Review

Based on the thesis and oral defense, the committee may recommend that:

  1. The thesis be accepted as is and candidate be awarded the MASc degree.
  2. The student be awarded the degree subject to minor modifications of the thesis.
  3. The student be given the opportunity to address shortcomings in their thesis or defense with the objective of reconvening the oral exam at a later date.

Exam Chair fills out an MASc Oral Exam Chair’s Summary following the committee’s discussion. The Chair’s Summary will be submitted to the  Graduate Office following the exam.

Admission to the PhD Program

The student’s qualifications for the PHD program are reviewed at the exam. The committee reviews qualification based on the following factors:

  1. A student wishing to proceed to the PhD program is normally expected to complete the MASc program in four consecutive sessions (16 months).
  2. The student must obtain a B+ average across all courses towards the degree. Students failing a course would not normally be eligible for proceeding to a PhD program. Exception can be given only for courses extra (EXT) to the degree.
  3. Although no official grade is given to the thesis and its defense, the overall B+ average required by SGS at the master’s level for proceeding to the PhD program will be taken into account.
  4. Students who complete an MASc in the Department of Chemical Engineering and wish to begin a PhD in the department immediately after finishing their master’s, are to apply for PhD admission through the SGS Admission Application System.  Please contact either the Graduate Assistant for information on the most expedient way to apply for admission.

Chair’s Discovery Award

The Chair’s Discovery Award (CDA) was established in 2013 to encourage publications by graduate students, to set clear expectations in graduate programs and to help reduce time to completion. See details.

Thesis submission

Once any modifications/corrections have been made and the supervisor has approved the thesis, the corrected thesis must be submitted according to the requirements below:

  • 1 electronic copy to the School of Graduate Studies submitted online. Please refer to their website for details.
  • 1 electronic copy sent to the Graduate Office.
  • 1 hard bound copy for each supervisor.

Finishing Up

The Department must make a degree recommendation to SGS before a student’s degree may be considered complete.  In order for the Department to make this recommendation, the following items must be completed:

  1. The supervisor informs the Graduate Administrator via email that any required thesis corrections/modifications have been made
  2. The Graduate Administrator reviews the student’s file to ensure that degree requirements have been met
  3. The student returns any items borrowed from the Department or their supervisor (e.g., keys, fobs, Health & Safety materials, etc.)
  4. MASc students submit their thesis to the School of Graduate Studies (see Producing Your Thesis for information on how to format the document, as well as submission forms and uploading your final thesis through). The expectation is that all MASc theses will be published according to University of Toronto policies. In the rare case, when a thesis is also the subject of patent, we will consider embargoing a thesis for 1-2 years. A published thesis will not stop you from publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. Students requesting an embargo must submit a Restrict Thesis Release Form to the Graduate Office.
  5. The student submits an electronic copy of the thesis to the Graduate Office.  The supervisor will pay for any costs incurred for any hardcopies required.


Please review SGS’s Program Completion page for information on relevant deadlines, final fees, producing and submitting your Thesis, graduation, convocation, and services available to you beyond graduation.